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What Is Osteoporosis? What You Need to Know

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How Can I Prevent Osteoporosis? continued...

Increase calcium in your diet. Getting enough calcium throughout your life helps to keep bones strong. Experts recommend 1,000 milligrams each day for premenopausal women and 1,200 milligrams a day for postmenopausal women.

Excellent sources of calcium include:

  • milk and dairy products (low-fat versions are recommended)
  • canned fish with bones, such as salmon and sardines
  • dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, collards, and broccoli
  • calcium-fortified orange juice
  • breads made with calcium-fortified flour

You can get the recommended amounts of calcium by having four servings of calcium-rich foods each day. Good choices might include:

  • yogurt made with low-fat milk or whole milk
  • a serving of cheese, tofu, or milk
  • a serving of fish or broccoli
  • calcium-fortified juices, breads, and cereals
  • calcium-fortified dairy products

Supplement your diet. Experts say it is best to get calcium through your diet. But if you don't get enough dietary calcium, ask your health care provider about calcium supplements. Recent studies show that calcium supplements might increase the risk for heart attack, so you and your doctor will have to weigh your individual risks and benefits of supplements and decide what is best for you.

Get plenty of vitamin D.Vitamin D is necessary for the body to absorb calcium. While being out in the sun 20 minutes each day helps your body get vitamin D, more research is showing that people may get too little of this vitamin, particularly in the wintertime. You can also get vitamin D from:

  • eggs
  • fatty fish like salmon
  • cereal
  • milk fortified with vitamin D
  • supplements

Guidelines from the Institute of Medicine call for increasing the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) for everyone aged 1-70, and raising it to 800 IU for adults older than 70 to optimize bone health.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 24, 2013
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